In Depth

Column: Cast a Vote: Should I Go TV-Free?

Has the time come to get rid of my television? I’m not referring to just my specific provider here. I mean no cable TV. No satellite TV. No rabbit ears.

Can it be done yet? Can broadband video fill the void? I’m going to let the readers decide.

Yes, I’m offering myself up as a guinea pig for the broadband-powered video lifestyle. I’ll explain my reasoning later, but for now let me say that if I cut the cord and become a high-speed-only house, I’m going to need your support.

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I need to know whether you want me to conduct this cable-free experiment, because we’ll be in this together. Why, you ask? Because I’m going to be reporting in every week for the next month, letting you know where it hurts, where it feels good, if it works, if it doesn’t.

I’m going to depend on you, my readers and my friends, to get me through. When I’m sitting there on the couch, jonesing to use video-on-demand or my digital video recorder or just to relish the sheer ease of watching the old-fashioned way, that’s when I’m going to need your support.

I’ll need it to get me through those dark and lonely nights when I’m just one push of the button away from calling Comcast and signing back up.

So let’s make it a joint project. I’m declaring my candidacy to cut the cable programming cord for at least one month. If you vote yes on my blog, Trial & Error, I’ll cancel my cable programming (but not broadband service) and lean only on my Apple TV, and my computer. If you vote no, I’ll keep the status quo.

Here are the pros and cons.

Ditching cable programming saves close to $99 a month, and we all need to tighten our belts during tough economic times.

There will be challenges. I am a die-hard “Grey’s Anatomy” fan and I also like to watch “The Office.” But as anyone who hasn’t been sleeping under a rock knows, you can get those shows on ABC.com, NBC.com, Hulu.com or iTunes.

But I also watch “Entourage” and “Californication” every Sunday. Can I go without HBO and Showtime? Neither one of those shows is immediately available on iTunes. But as much as I love “Entourage” I’m willing to wait a few months until the DVD comes out to be with the boys.
Then there are kids networks such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, which really prove their worth on Saturday mornings when you can say to the kids, “Go watch cartoons. I’m going back to bed.”

But kids are flexible and they don’t care where they watch, so I can park them in front of a computer to see “iCarly” or “Pokemon.”

How about MSNBC’s “Countdown”? Actually, that show will afford the most seamless transition because it’s available immediately on iTunes—without the commercials. I have an Apple TV so I can even pretend I haven’t canceled my cable when I watch Keith.

So now I put it to you. Shall I pull the plug on cable programming and live like a true Web-video heroine?

Go to TVWeek.com and vote.